Lekach – Jewish Honey Cake

Thank you for sharing!

Last Updated on November 14, 2019 by Chef Mireille

Lekach – Jewish Honey Cake

Lekach – Jewish Honey Cake –  is a traditional Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) cake flavored with smoky spices, orange juice, brandy and coffee.

plate of Jewish Honey Cake recipe

I had to skip last month’s #FoodoftheWorld. After coming back from a trip to Asia, I just didn’t have time to whip something up for Russia before the date of posting. I was a bit too unrealistic and how quick I could bounce back from jetlag after returning from half way around the world. I was really upset as I had picked out a fabulous recipe to try. Oh well, it will have to be done in the future. Until then, we are off to Israel this month.

Israel is a multi cultural country that includes Arabs, Christians and Jews. However, the Jewish community is the largest. Many years ago, I worked as a registrar for a Jewish company that organized volunteer and birthright trips to Israel. For those that don’t know, every person born of at least one Jewish parent anywhere in the world is entitled to a free 10 day trip to Israel when they are between the ages of 18-25. There are several companies that organize birthright trips and I worked for one of them.

Multi Cultural Israel

Working with a lot of Israelis, I learned a lot about Israeli culture and cuisine when working there. We always had potluck lunches for all the Jewish holidays, so I would have to do research to figure out what to bring. Our company was pluralistic, in that we had employees from the complete range of the Jewish faith – those that were strict Orthodox to those that were secular (non practicing), as well as employees of different faiths. However, we always had to be mindful of Jewish dietary laws for the Orthodox employees. For example, dairy and meat couldn’t be mixed in the same meal. So no one was bringing lasagna to the potluck!

See also  Lucuma Ice Cream - a Peruvian superfood

While there, I learned how all encompassing the Jewish faith is. I was surprised to learn there are so many Jewish people from countries like Ethiopia, Uganda, Morocco and India – not countries that usually come to mind when you think of Jewish people. So what is an Israeli recipe – really it could be any kind of recipe from the Jewish communities of these countries. What I found interesting was depending where someone’s family was from often altered what was eaten. I had a Moroccan Jewish coworker, but she was married to an Israeli of Egyptian origins. I can’t recall which holiday it was, but she was having a disagreement with her new husband who always ate dairy on the holiday, but in her Moroccan Jewish family, dairy was forbidden. What to do? I’m not sure how that issue ever got resolved 🙂

Rosh Hoshanah is the Jewish New Year and it is traditional to eat honey on this day so that sweet things will come to you in the new year. After the prayer, honey is eaten with apples. However, honey still continues to make its appearance throughout the holiday meal. Lekach is a recipe that comes from the Ashkinazi Jewish community of Eastern Europe. I found different recipes online that used different flavorings from coffee to orange juice. I then called a friend of my Mom’s who has a Jewish settlement cookbook that dates back to the 1930’s and in that recipe, lemon and citron is used to flavor the cake. However, the more recipes I consulted, coffee seems to be a modern common innovation, so decided to include both citrus and coffee. Some recipes are made with only honey and then I also found others that were made with honey, brown sugar and white sugar. Liquor is a common addition and some are egg rich with up to 6 eggs, while others only had 2 eggs. With so much variation, what to do. It seems like recipes will vary from family to family, so I combined the elements I liked from many different recipes and came up with my own version.

See also  Vietnamese Chicken Salad - Ga Xe Phay

Depending how religious you are, dairy and meat cannot be eaten within 4-6 hours of each other, so this cake is made with oil so that it can be eaten at a meal with meat. By Jewish dietary laws, eggs are not considered dairy, but parve. Parve are neutral foods that don’t interfere with either dairy or meat restrictions.

IN THE MAKING – HOW TO MAKE LEKACH – JEWISH HONEY CAKE

cake -edit

All those spices make this a perfect holiday cake…who says you have to be Jewish to enjoy it. It will make a great Christmas cake also…or whatever holiday you celebrate…

Cake LR 3

what a soft and porous crumb…

Cake LR 4

or enjoy it at tea time…

Lekach - Jewish Honey Cake
Print Recipe Pin it for later!
No ratings yet
SAVE THIS RECIPE

Lekach – Jewish Honey Cake

This traditional Jewish Honey Cake is perfect for any holiday infused with coffee and smoky spices.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Israeli

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 4 eggs separated
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons apricot brandy
  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a bundt pan or springform pan with non stick spray or brush with oil.
  • In a bowl, mix together flour, cloves, allspice, ginger, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Sift.
  • Using the bowl of an electric mixer, beat sugar, egg yolks, oil, honey, orange juice, apricot brandy and coffee. Beat well until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes on high speed. Add zests and mix until thoroughly combined.
  • Add flour mixture in 3 batches, mixing well after each addition. Add walnuts and mix until thoroughly combined.
  • In a small bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold into cake batter until thoroughly incorporated.
  • Pour into prepared cake pan. Bake for 1 hour, until knife inserted comes out clean.
Did you try this recipe? Leave a comment below.Please follow me on Instagram @chefmireille or tag me #chefmireille with your pics! I’d love to share them!
See also  12 Pancake Recipes

SHARE THIS DELICIOUS RECIPE WITH YOUR FOODIE FRIENDS

Need more culinary inspiration? Check out the Recipe Index with over 1500 Recipes from Around the World with lots of Vegetarian 🥕🍆🍅and Gluten Free Recipes!

Thank you for sharing!

About Chef Mireille

CHEF MIREILLE - AUTHOR, RECIPE DEVELOPER AND PHOTOGRAPHER FOR Global Kitchen Travels
***
Chef Mireille is a NYC based freelance chef instructor and food photographer. Due to her very diverse family background, she was able to travel and learn about global cultures and flavors from a young age. Her passion for culture, cooking, history and education had made her an expert on developing traditional globally inspired recipes & delicious fusion cuisine.
Her extensive travel history provides a plethora of background information and Travel Tips!

Join the Global Kitchen Travels community!

Sign up for updates!

Thanks! Keep an eye on your inbox for updates.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Usha

    It is always interesting to read your intros, country and the food you cook. After seeing your Instagram picture, I too considered baking a cake. Changed my mind, took a shortcut and made a simple sweet. My post is scheduled for 4 pm this evening. Wanted to give 8 hours gap between this and ‘J’ post. 🙂

  2. Diane Balch

    It must have been culturally really interesting to work for the travel company. I taught English in a Yeshiva and I’m not Jewish. I found the culture and food very interesting too. Yes, my students were of European, Cuba, Indian, and Israel decent to name a few. I didn’t realize that Judaism was in so many parts of the world too. I will have to try your honey cake. It looks delicious.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.